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San Francisco Restaurant Reviews & Recommendations


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#61 SiseFromm

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:13 AM

Man, you just stirred up some recent memories for me! I was in the Bay Area over the Holidays and had that very same roast duck from Yank Sing, and those same two dishes were on the tasting menus when we ate at French Laundry. We had three white Alba truffles with risotto at our table so the aroma was intoxicating. Some of it came back when I saw that photo! lol

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#62 Hest88

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 09:53 AM

Mmmm. Great pictures. Is Kasper's still open? Last I heard it was closed and no one knew if it would open again.

#63 bcnchef

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 11:37 AM

Mmmm. Great pictures. Is Kasper's still open? Last I heard it was closed and no one knew if it would open again.

Really? I hadn't heard this, that's terrible... There were two places with similar names if I remember correctly. Apparently one is run by a cousin or brother-in-law or something of the original...

#64 merle

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 01:51 PM

All I would ask for in addition is -- addresses!

Maybe they're there, and I just didn't dig deep enough?

(and yes, you can get them from different sources, but I like my information all in once place..)

Great images!

#65 tanabutler

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 02:54 PM

Lovely work!

I was happy to see Swanton Berry Farm included.

Also, which farmer's market is pictured? It looks like the one in downtown Santa Cruz, but probably not.

#66 gad

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:10 PM

I will be travelling to San Fransisco with my family (two adults and three teenagers). We are looking for some good restaurants, both off the beaten track and in the touristy area of Fisherman's Wharf. Also, some suggestions for Carmel would be great.

#67 ludja

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:18 PM

Here's a recent thread on the Carmel/Monterrey area:

Carmel, Monterrey

For SF, I'm sure people will ask for some details re: type of food and/or price range...

Could also be helpful to browse around the California boards a bit; lots of SF suggestions there.

Welcome to egullet by the way!
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#68 melkor

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:34 PM

Where you should go in SF as ludja said all depends on what kind of food you like and what your budget is like. You should stop by the ferry building, there are a bunch of great shops there.

#69 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:40 PM

Yes, do let us know details as to budget range, styles of restaurants (i.e. "fine dining", casual, cheap-and-quick, etc.), and types of food preferred. San Francisco has a plethora of dining choices and that information will help a lot in pinpointing places you'll enjoy.

Cheers,

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#70 gad

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 05:37 PM

Our price range is around 25-40 per person, and we are willing to eat most foods. We are especially interested in foods that are unique to northern California, and are willing to travel outside San Fransisco if necessary. Thanks for your help. GAD

#71 melkor

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 06:05 PM

Well... I'd say Zuni Cafe and Boulevard are both worth visiting, how many days are you in town for?

#72 ludja

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 06:47 PM

Ditto on Zuni and Boulevard-both are quintessential SF restaurants--CA/meditarranean cuise.

Some recs for some more casual cuisine:

Brandy Ho's Hunan Cuisine on Columbus in North Beach. Check out Molinari's wonderful Italian deli up the street for snacks or things to take along. Stop in Stella Pastries also on Colombus for great Italian pastry such as cannolis.

Ton Kiang on Geary in the Richmond for dim sum.

Marnee Thai on Irving in the Sunset.

Other nice place near SF MOMA, is Thirsty Bear Brewery. The food is spanish tapas and is very good; plenty of seating; pretty during the day or pm.

If you're interested in Afghan food and can't get it easily near home; consider The Helmand in North Beach.

If you are driving up or down Hwy 1 between Monterrey and SF--stop in Pescardero for Duarte's Restaurant Tavern (right off of Hwy 1) for famous articoke soup and green chile soup with freshly baked homemade bread. Also, homemade pies for dessert. Seafood is also a specialty. Beautiful orginal building (always a restaurant/bar) since the days of timber industry in Santa Cruz Mtns (turn of the century).

It would be tough to pick between the two, but another awesome place to eat on Hwy 1 is "3 Amigos" Mexican Restaurant (just south of junction w/Hwy 92). Incredible carnitas burritos, creamy horchatas to drink....

Oh--and while I don't know too many restaurants near Fisherman's Wharf--one place you might enjoy is Ana Mandara at Ghiradelli Square. Owned by Don Johnson and Cheech Marin, it is a rather dramatic, multilevel space that is supposed to invoke French Colonial Vietnam. The food is pan-Asian with emphasis on Vietnamese. I've enjoyed dinner there, but also go to the beautiful bar area for drinks and appetizers...
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#73 marie-louise

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 08:57 PM

... We are especially interested in foods that are unique to northern California, and are willing to travel outside San Fransisco if necessary...

That would mean Chez Panisse! (if you don't eat too much, you can eat lunch at the cafe for $40/person) Then go across the street to the Cheese Board Pizza and get a pizza or two for those still-hungry teenagers.

#74 Gary Soup

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 12:48 AM

Our price range is around 25-40 per person, and we are willing to eat most foods.  We are especially interested in foods that are unique to northern California, and are willing to travel outside San Fransisco if necessary.  Thanks for your help. GAD

For local specialties, don't forget Dungeness crab (which will be in season through the end of June at least). Logic says that Fisherman's Wharf should be the place to get it, but in truth it's a much better deal at Asian restaurants in other parts of town. On the other hand, it might be satisfying to stop at one of the stalls at Fisherman's Wharf and watch them steam and crack the crab that goes in your crab cocktail or crab salad sandwich.

"Mission Style" burritos are uniquely San Francisco, and there happens to be a branch of my favorite (Taqueria San Jose) for "al Pastor" burritos close to Fishwharf (Mason and Francisco). These are dinner-sized things, not noshes.

For the Chinatown experience, I rcommend Great Eastern (649 Jackson) for dinner and Gold Mountain (644 Broadway) for dim sum.

#75 bcnchef

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 08:05 AM

We are looking for some good restaurants, both off the beaten track and in the touristy area of Fisherman's Wharf.

My list of the best things to eat in the Bay Area:

www.foodlover.com/dining/sfobest

Have a great trip and let us know if you find any new gems!

J.

#76 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:26 AM

at the more affordable and casual end of things what do people in frissy make of north beach restaurant (or is it north beach cafe?)?

#77 tanabutler

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:32 AM

It would be tough to pick between the two, but another awesome place to eat on Hwy 1 is "3 Amigos" Mexican Restaurant (just south of junction w/Hwy 92). Incredible carnitas burritos, creamy horchatas to drink....

Just a note: Tres Amigos is in Half Moon Bay, on the ocean side of Highway 1. There is always a line but it moves really quickly. These are some of the best burritos I've had in sixteen years in the Bay Area. I prefer the roasted chicken ones, myself, but that's just me.

Also in Half Moon Bay, on the northern side of town just off the highway on a little frontage road (to the left at a light, I can't remember the name of the intersection but there's a big Chinese restaurant there) is a little place that smokes fish. The smoked trout is like something from God's picnic basket: I go up there (50 miles) twice a year to score the trout and salmon.

Pescadero is so incredibly tiny, I don't know that it justifies a separate road trip, though.

If you're traveling down Highway 1, stop in Santa Cruz. (I live in SC county.) You will find many many sweet little bistros that serve the Holy Trinity (local, seasonal, organic), the best of those being Oswald, Gabriella Café, and Ristorante Avanti. We've got two fabulous farmer's markets: one downtown on Wednesdays between 2-6 p.m., and one on Saturday morning at Cabrillo College in Aptos. They're fun! (I'm headed there this morning to score oysters from Bill the Oyster Man for our Oscar party tomorrow.)

Santa Cruz also has a boardwalk that might be open when you visit: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a mile-long beach with all kinds of rides (including the Giant Dipper, a huge wooden rollercoaster). The food is terribly addicting and bad for you. Your teenagers will love it. :biggrin:

Also worth a stop on your way south to Monterey (one "r"; "Monterrey" is in Mexico) is at Moss Landing (across from the PG&E plant with the two huge smokestacks) is Phil's Fresh Fish. It's a well-named joint: the fish is FRESH. They've got absolutely fantastic clam chowder, and you can eat in the little café. I love that place.

As mentioned in the Carmel/Monterey thread linked above, there's a place in Monterey right on Cannery Row about two blocks before the aquarium called A Taste of Monterey, with a splendid view of the Monterey Bay. They offer wine tastings of all-Monterey wineries at a very affordable price. You can sip while you watch sea otters and kayakers. The aquarium is worth every penny of the admission: I recommend it with all my heart.

Enjoy!

#78 Annie Girl

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 08:20 PM

Definitely, go to Zuni Cafe and order the roast chicken. It sounds trite, but it is oh so good. I make it at home now. We spent our Honeymoon in San Franciscao and went to many wonderful spots. The 2 that stand out are Zuni (can recreate sort of) and Chez Panisse (cannot). Enjoy.

I recommend Rose Pistola as well. Touristy, but still quite wonderful.
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#79 ludja

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 01:13 AM

Pescadero is so incredibly tiny, I don't know that it justifies a separate road trip, though.

nice suggestions, tanabutler and thanks for mentioning that Tres Amigos is in Half Moon Bay.

I mentioned Duartes in Pescadero if one is traveling between SF and Monterrey; not as a separate road trip. It is not out of the way; just about 2 miles off of Hwy 1. All people from outside the area (and also in the bay area) have been really happy with the visit there; it has a lot of charm of the 'old West' and great regional food. Can you tell I like the place? :smile:

Anyway, there are a lot of good choices between SF and Monterrey, and nice to have the additional suggestions in Santa Cruz also.

edited to add: another great reason to go to Zuni is if you like oysters. They always have a great selection of local and other west coast oysters.

Edited by ludja, 29 February 2004 - 01:14 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#80 cookingwithamy

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 09:58 AM

I love Boulevard but I have NEVER gotten out of there for $40 a head!

I just ate at Luna park last night and it's as good as ever. Fun place to take out-of-towners. The entrees are all under about $15 and they have terrific appetizers and desserts. Very San Francisco and not in a touristy area.

You can check out the menu and make reservations at www.lunaparksf.com

#81 melkor

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 10:12 AM

I love Boulevard but I have NEVER gotten out of there for $40 a head!

I just ate at Luna park last night and it's as good as ever. Fun place to take out-of-towners. The entrees are all under about $15 and they have terrific appetizers and desserts. Very San Francisco and not in a touristy area.

You can check out the menu and make reservations at www.lunaparksf.com

You can do lunch at Boulevard and get out for far less than $40/head.

#82 marlena spieler

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 10:23 AM

at the more affordable and casual end of things what do people in frissy make of north beach restaurant (or is it north beach cafe?)?

i've had really fabulous food at north beach restaurant,very authentic tuscan food. if you speak with the owner and or waiter about having special dishes, i think you'll be happiest.

they have a room downstairs that you can book for events, but small events, such as dinner for about 10....its a ham room, ie a room that they hang and age their homemade prosciutto! its wonderful!

also, sgroppino, a whipped up mixture of sorbetto, proscecco and i think a bit of grappa is divine, they make it deliciously, but you might have to ask ahead, i don't know if its on the menu.

and if you tell the owner, lorenzo, that i said hello, i'm sure he'll take good care of you, and you know......its been too long since i've been there (about a year or so). its very nice.
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#83 ingridsf

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 07:38 PM

No shortage of reasonably priced great places to recommend!

Mine are:

Clementine on Clement btwn 2nd and 3rd Ave. -- southern French, unfussy, wonderful service.

Chow or Park Cow -- on Church at Sanchez, or 9th Ave at Lincoln -- Cal-Italian, casual, fresh, simple, great for price, families

Zazie on Cole at Parnassus -- weekday breakfast, lunch, patio out back, nice prices

Mitchell's Ice Cream - 668 San Jose Avenue right off Mission -- killer ice cream (I know you didn't ask but you gotta have dessert, don't you?")

Slow Club -- Mariposa at Hampshire -- a tad loud but plate-licking good and a different cocktail of the day is part of the menu, which also changes daily. California/Med food.
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#84 DCMark

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 08:27 AM

My wife and I are taking a 4 day trip to San Francisco in early November. She is French and has never been beyond the East Coast. I want to show her San Francisco but I have set aside one day to head out of town and spend the night. My goal is to show her some of the breathtaking beauty of the West, something different than what Europe offers.

I need some suggestions of where to go, more for the scenery and nature than for the fine food or hotel. We will get plenty of that in SF.

Ideas are?

1. Go north to Marin, stay in Mill Valley and see Muir Woods, Stinson beach, etc.
2. Go south to Big Sur
3. Go to Napa. I am leaning against this as she is from the Rhone Valley and wine tours are not a priority.

Any ideas and suggestions? Also, do you think this trip is better done on a Thursday or Saturday? I would think the traffic is less on a weekday.

Thanks!

Edited by DCMark, 26 August 2004 - 02:27 PM.


#85 samgiovese

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 08:33 AM

I don't think you can beat a drive south down Highway 1 to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur...maybe stop at Point Lobos, too. You could go as far as Big Sur and then come back to overnight in Carmel at one of the many charming properties there, and also enjoy a nice meal.

That would be my choice for showing off the sheer beauty of Northern California, aside from San Francisco.

And yes, I'd definitely do it on a weekday if you have that option.
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#86 Absonot

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 11:37 AM

Just to make your decision more difficult, a drive north would be unforgettable too. I personally prefer it because you get gorgeous scenery right off the bat, whereas a southern drive takes a while to get to the good stuff (although it is DARN good stuff...this is one gorgeous state).

Drive across the Golden Gate bridge to 1, where you'll hug the winding coast -- dramatic cliffs to your left, rolling golden (or green, depending on the time of year) hills to your right. Note: NOT good for people who get car sick easily. No joke.

You'll drive through the occassional "cute" town and around every bend an amazing view will great you.

Like oysters? The finest (in my opinion of course) local oysters are right on your route in Tomales Bay---The Hog Island Oyster company: http://www.hogisland...tion1/Home.html
From their site: "Open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 to 5, all year long. Live, farm-raised oysters and clams may be purchased to take home or to eat on site. Though a working farm, and not a restaurant, shucking knives, waterfront picnic tables & BBQ kettles are provided for a small fee for the enjoyment of visitors. Bring a picnic, and enjoy oysters plucked fresh from their nearby beds! "

If you option to head east toward Santa Rosa or Healdsburg, there are tons of dining and lodging options I won't go into here as they are more thoroughly covered elsewhere.

But if you continue as north into Mendocino county, drive 128 through some *amazing* scenery and back toward the coast to very east coast-looking towns of Albion and Mendocino. (Exteriors for Murder, She Wrote were filmed in this area, to give you an idea of how uniquely Maine-ish it feels). Also great food throughout this area.

All in all, the downside of this trip is that you're on 1 for a looooong time, and it's very twisty. Upside is it's gorgeous 95% of the time. And gorgeous in different ways...no monotonous scenery. Always something new to appreciate. Also, the food, wine and lodging options are top notch along the way.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have a great trip!

#87 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 12:01 PM

I think if you have four days, there is no reason why you can't do it all.

Arrive in San Francisco and haul butt up the 101 to Forth Bragg -- then have the leisurely drive down the 1 through Bodega Bay and Marin, through the city, and on down to Big Sur.

It would make for a beautiful drive and we could then give you eating recommendations along the way...

#88 ludja

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 12:18 PM

It certainly is a tough decision; both drives are so beautiful. I have to say that one of my absolute favorite stretches is from Bodega Bay down to SF driving past Tomales Bay, etc. (if you have time; the coast north of that is incredible too and Caroline Tillie and Absonot mention and certainly worth it). There are very high cliffs on this part and also north of Bodega Bay--a different feel than Big Sur but very spectacular. If you get up to Mendocino it is incredibly lovely.

A big hit with all my "East Coast" family has been the trip to Muir Woods (a little north of SF off of Hwy 1). Even coming from places with beautiful forests and trees they were very impressed with the redwoods. There is a very easy walk (paved and can do it with sandals) thru the redwoods if you don't have lots of time.

And as mentioned, if you narrow down your itinerary, let us know and we can recommend food stops and watering holes! :smile:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#89 tanabutler

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 01:29 PM

whereas a southern drive takes a while to get to the good stuff (although it is DARN good stuff...this is one gorgeous state).

Are you kidding me? He can bring his wife to Santa Cruz (down Highway One, a gorgeous drive) and see not only the dramatic California coastline, but enormous redwoods, as well...less than an hour and a half from San Francisco. There are two redwood parks in the county, and one is only 15 minutes from the ocean. That would be Henry Cowell State Park (that is a clickable map that opens up QTVR scenes): the tallest tree is nearly 300 feet tall and 16 feet wide. The oldest trees are 1400-1800 years old.

You could stop in Pescadero (two miles inland, about 40 miles south of San Francisco), which is the town that time forgot. A visit to Archangeli grocery store nets you artichoke bread and Harley Farms Goat Cheese, which just won six national prizes. (You could tour the farm, as I did last week, but a European might have already seen more goats in her lifetime than she wants to.) If it sounds quaint, it is. Pescadero is lovely.

Santa Cruz is relaxing and casual, though you can dress for dinner if you like. "Relaxing" as opposed to Carmel, which I find unbearably stuffy, if not downright haughty. There are so many good little bistros serving the best of California's seasonal/organic produce. (Oswald, Ristorante Avanti, Gabriella Cafe, Sestri...and now I am told that the new chef at Soif, Chris Avila, is kicking butt, too. So sayeth chef David Kinch, who frequents Soif now.)

Downtown Santa Cruz is a shopper's mecca: it's got galleries, one of the best kitchen stores I know, bookstores, coffee shops, movie theaters, tons of clothing stores: everything.

There are so many beaches, and so many places for exquisite views....like up at UCSC, which has a view to Monterey. There are sloughs filled with egrets and water fowl, rivers and creeks, and the rolling golden hills.

While there is plenty to do, there is also plenty of nothing to do. Plenty of spacious beaches, plenty of trails to hike or bike, plenty of places to spread a blanket and have a picnic overlooking the Monterey Bay.

Should you come on Thursday afternoon, there is a sweet little farmers market down in the village in Capitola-by-the-Sea, and it is by the sea. It's also just down the hill from Gayle's Bakery and Rosticceria, which any eGulleteer who's been there will praise.

Well, that's my two cents. Come to Santa Cruz, just over an hour away. Who wants to spend all day in a car?

#90 Jane57

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 01:47 PM

If you don't want to spend the entire day in the car I would go North to Stinson Beach, Muir Woods etc. There are several charming inns in the Point Reyes area as well as some excellent dining. The Olema Inn comes to mind for some of the freshest seafood. Last time we were there was for lunch and they were just bringing in the salmon from the fishing boats - it was divine. The area is very laidback and lacks the hussle of the city.

If you don't mind doing all the driving then go south. Stop in Santa Cruz then continue on down the coast. Lunch at Phil's in Moss Landing. Monterey Bay Aquarium should be a must see. Dinner at Fresh Cream in Monterey or someplace small in Carmel. I hear that Clint is in town, but don't know about November.